Sunday, November 29, 2009

9801 Kendale Road - McAuley Park - $989,000

Listed by Burr Residential

Google Map Here

McAuley Park has always been one of my favorite Potomac neighborhoods. A mix of colonials, ramblers and newer custom homes, the community is a pleaser. Prices run the gamut from just under $1mm to $3mm+.

This is one of the original ramblers built in McAuley Park back in 1973. At the corner of Kendale and Kentsdale Drive, you could not ask for a better location. Sited on exactly 1/2 acre, this home looks regal sitting on a small knoll.

There is a circular driveway that suits this home well. Brick and frame with attractive landscape, this home has great curb appeal. It looks as though it has really been taken care of over the years.

You walk into a nice foyer and immediately see the kitchen on the right. It is large with blue delft tile and lots of light. A gas fireplace welcomes you to the space, and even though very dated, there is something warm and comfortable about the design. This would be a great home for a party. The kitchen is open and flow is circular. The kitchen will be expensive to re-do, but has the potential to be a stunner.

Behind the kitchen is a large dining room open to a living room on one side, and a solarium on the other. Lots of nice mouldings and hardwood floors. Some of the design will have to be updated, but what great bones this home has!

. There is an outdoor patio surrounded by a lovely brick wall. You get some great privacy for a cocktail, bar-b-que or simply a glass of wine mulling over the day. I really liked the way they built this outdoor space. It would cost a fortune to do this now.

There are 3 bedrooms on the first floor. All of them are good size with hardwood floors. The baths will need rehab, but you could certainly live with them as is. The basement has 2 additional bedrooms and a full bath. A large paneled recreation room with full bar is definitely from the 70's era, but the space itself would lend well for a large home theatre or rec room. There is also lots of storage space that is unfinished. Someone with vision could really expand the finished basement area for something special downstairs.

This home is well priced at $989,000. To get into McAuley Park under $1mm on a corner lot is a good deal. This home is assessed in 2010 at $1,245,000. You are not stealing it at its current price, cause it may cost $125K to update. Once updated though - you will have a gem. I see you getting $2 back for each dollar you spend on a good renovation. Look for this one selling within 30 days at $965,000.

Friday, November 27, 2009

7960 Inverness Ridge Road - Inverness Forest Townhomes - $469,500

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Inverness Ridge Townhomes are located just off Seven Locks Road between Bells Mill and Democracy Boulevard. These 3 bedroom Townhomes are deceptively large, and are a great entry point for those wanting a Potomac Zip Code.

This home is contemporary in design and in great condition. The hardwood floors in the foyer take you past the kitchen into a combined Living Room Dining Room area. The rooms are bright with all windows on the back of the home. A slider brings you out to a nice size deck with a view of a tiered and fenced back yard.

The kitchen is large with a nice breakfast area along the front windows looking out over the front of the home. The kitchen is dated, but in good condition. You could certainly live with this until you had time or money to update. A large pantry and plenty of cabinets have plenty of space for expansion.

The upstairs has three large bedrooms with hardwood floors. The master has a small bathroom that has been nicely redone. The hall bath is in good condition and will nicely service the remaining two bedrooms.

The basement is fully carpeted with a fireplace and door to the back yard. This would be a great spot for a TV and entertainment center - or - could be used as an additional bedroom if you needed the space. A half bath, laundry and lots of unfinished storage space completes the basement level.

The price on this home is right in the ballpark of where it should be. The last few sold had more upgrades, but this price range is hot. If it is priced right - or close - it should sell for close to the ask price. I see this one selling reasonably quickly for around $460,000.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! - Drive Safely !

It is this time each year that I reflect on the wonderful friends, family and relationships I have in my life! Thank you all for being so supportive this past 12 months.

I have had many e-mails, phone calls and Tweets (You can follow me on Twitter @potomacsecret), encouraging me to post speed camera signs this week before the Thanksgiving Holiday. As it is the busiest travel day of the year, I have decided to post signs starting this afternoon.

Whether you are a proponent of speed cameras, or not, it is most important to know that these signs slow people down and promote safety. I hope everyone in Potomac understands this to be the ultimate goal.

I am cooking up a storm today after sign posting. I wish everyone in Potomac and beyond a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Please drive safely, and enjoy your time spent with family and friends.

I will be staying in Potomac over the holiday and plan on posting 3-4 reviews through the week. Please continue to check back and tell your friends!

Monday, November 23, 2009

11604 Le Havre Drive - Lake Normandy Estates - $949,900

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Although Lake Normandy Estates is located just off Falls Road, you feel as though you are far away from the traffic and bustle of the world. The lots are almost 1/2 acre, and the neighborhood has been well maintained. Throw in Churchill schools, and you have the making of a winner!

This home is set back from the street with beautiful landscape. The home looks bigger then its neighbors and going inside, you will find it is. The foyer is formal but open with 10 foot ceilings. A library to your left extends into a large family room addition. A full stone wall fireplace and cathedral ceilings with skylights are a beautiful feature in this room..

The kitchen is updated nicely but retain a dated tile floor. The dining room has an elaborate wallpaper and art deco feel. This design feature is found throughout the home and will either be to the new buyers taste, or an expensive update once in the home. The back yard is beautiful. A deck, screened porch and gazebo is beautifully done. The hardscape and design is lovely and expensive. I wouldn't change a thing.

The art-deco and ornate design features continue upstairs. Great space with a large master suite and 3 other good size bedrooms. The wallpaper and decor is a bit over the top, but the room design has great potential.

The basement is finished with hardwood with a bar, dance floor and bedroom and full bath. There is also storage here that is unfinished.

This home is priced well in this market. Anyone purchasing will discount their offer taking into consideration the cost to remove wallpaper and decorate to their taste. With that said, I see this settling in the $925K range.

Friday, November 20, 2009

13509 Maidstone Lane - Rivers Edge - $1,050,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Rivers Edge is a lovely community of custom homes about 5 miles out River Road from the Village. On mostly 2 acre lots, the homes are mostly upscale and built in the mid-1980's.

This home is one level rambler with a circular driveway. The landscaping is elaborate - though could use some TLC. At one point in time this was a showplace. It won an award for landscape design in 1996. There is a small greenhouse built behind the garage ready for someone with a green thumb to reclaim.

The slate walk brings you up to a slate porch and the front door. You enter into a large grand foyer that is large enough to host a cocktail party. Though the tile there is a bit dated, this is still great space. A huge living room on the right side of the foyer is more space for the party to flow. With embassy sized rooms, this home immediately appealed to my entertainment genes.

The dining room is on the right side, and is large, but modest compared to the foyer and living room. The kitchen is very nicely designed, but needs an upgrade. With original appliances and old counters it is a perfect candidate for a redo. The family room is lovely with a full stone wall fireplace and wet bar. Great spot for cognac and conversation after dinner.

The living quarters is in the right wing of the home. The master is large and bright with windows all along the back of the home. The bath is nice with a sunken tub and separate shower. Although dated, this room held up well. There is a small bedroom currently used as an office, and another large bedroom with nice sized hall bath.

The basement is accessed from an open stairwell in the foyer. You open the door to a enormous room that is fully carpeted with daylight access to the back yard. There is an office here, a bedroom with full bath and plenty of storage. Loads of potential for the next owners.

The back yard is beautiful. There is a pool and small pool house in the backyard. It is fenced and nicely landscaped. The lot continues beyond the pool fence to the full two acres. This is a nice piece of property. A large deck, and hardscaping surround the pool area with multiple access points to the home. A screened porch with vintage astro turf carpeted floors is the only glaring design faux pas. Otherwise the home is decorated with class, and easily updated. There is some wallpaper in a few rooms that will need to be removed, but what potential!

This home is listed for $1,050,000 which is the cheapest in the neighborhood. Part of an estate, this home may be a bargain for someone with vision and a few extra dollars after settlement. The landscape was once glorious. Someone with a green thumb can easily bring this landscape back to its past glory. This will easily add $100k in instant equity. This home was listed earlier in the year at $1,195,000. This price was no bargain. The new price of $1,050,000 is fair, and a deal for the right buyer. I see this one settling at around $1mm within 60 days.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

7900 Declaration Lane - Regency Estates - $799,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Regency Estates is a sought after community just off Seven Locks Road. This home is lovely brick colonial at the intersection of Declaration and Democracy. A former model home, this home has recently been completely updated.

This home is a center foyer colonial on a corner lot. The foyer has tile which runs straight back through the kitchen and laundry area. The rest of the home has lovely hardwood floors.

The center foyer steps down into a nice living room and dining room. Nice mouldings and new paint look great. The staging done for this home is fabulous. Kudos to the listing agent.

The family room on the right side of the foyer is nice with a fireplace against the side wall. The kitchen is completely redone with granite and all the latest stainless appliances.

The upstairs too has been completely redone. The Master has two walk in closets and a separate linen closet. The bathroom is small for a master, but it too has been upgraded. The other bedrooms are all hardwood and decent size. Certainly fine for a teen, child or guest.

The basement stairs are done with indoor outdoor carpet. There is a "short step" at the bottom of the stairwell that may be dangerous. Focus and watch your step going downstairs. The basement is finished in light colored Pergo and has a Nanny suite with full bath. The rest of the basement has plenty of space for a TV, couches and home theatre.

This is a nicely upgraded home with good location, schools and neighborhood. The home is sited so there is not much of a back yard. There is quite a bit of noise from busy Seven Locks Road which may turn some people off. This is by far the most expensive home in Regency Estates. A similar colonial settled in September at $675,000. Although not upgraded, it provides a basis for price.

The current owners probably spent $100K in upgrading this home. They should expect to get about 60% of that money spent back. I see this home going to settlement at close to its county assessed value of $643,000 when all is said and done.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

9712 Beman Woods Way - Avenel - $1,299,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Avenel was one of the few communities in this area that was approved for building homes in close clusters. Not quite a zero lot line, but similar. This type of development is tough to do well. Avenel is one of the few developments that does.

This is a great looking all brick home in a blue chip community.Although a detached colonial, this home shows like a large town home. With an open entry foyer, this home still has a colonial feel. Dining room right, living room left a center hall brings you past the main stairway and into the family room and kitchen in the back of the home. All of the rooms are well appointed with moulding and hardwood. Although not large in comparison to many Avenel homes, this home has good scale.

The kitchen has ceramic floors and upscale - though original - appliances. The Corian counters are now out of favor and can be easily replaced by granite. Although it needs some updating, the kitchen is well designed and comfortable. A breakfast area looks out to the yard and french doors bring you out to a lovely slate porch.

Upstairs the master bedroom has a fireplace and two "Juliette" balconies. The master has both shower and Jacuzzi tub done in all white tile typical of the era. A sitting room is attached and is nice space to read as not to disturb a sleepy partner. The other 3 bedrooms are decent size with en-suite baths.

The basement is finished with a wood burning fireplace and carpeted floors. A full bath and bedroom could be a great guest suite or spot for a Nanny. There are rough-ins for a wet bar and wine cellar.

This is a nice home that needs a bit of updating. The price is fair and reflects the update costs. For someone looking in Avenel, this is one to see. This should settle in the $1.2 to $1.225 range when all is said and done.

Friday, November 13, 2009

11712 Karen Drive - Lake Normandy Estates - $739,000

Listed By ReMax

Google Map Here

It is tough to find a nice contemporary home in Potomac. I have been working with some clients for the past few months trying to find one that suits their needs. We came upon this one in Lake Normandy Estates - I was impressed.

This is a half acre lot fully treed and hidden from the street. A steep driveway brings you to a lovely contemporary surrounded by trees. The exterior was lovely with Japanese Maples and other specimen trees throughout the landscape. A covered walk brings you to the front door from the carport.

The entry is bright and open. Integrated Japanese screens separate you from the Living room. When opened, you look straight through the living room to the back yard through a wall of windows. The lofted ceilings draw your attention to the full wall of cedar in the living room with a lovely fireplace centered there. The wood is original with a great patina in excellent condition. Classic contemporary look.

The dining room is good size framed by the back of the home, and a large screened porch on the side of the home. The kitchen is tiled and updated - the pickled oak cabinets - although dated, are in great condition. Replace the counters with granite, and you are in great shape.

The upstairs brings you to 4 smaller bedrooms typical of this type home. The hall bath is original and Master Bath updated. Both will need attention by the new owners. The carpet on this level is older and bunching up. It will certainly need replacing.

The downstairs has a lovely family room with direct access to the yard. The light in this room is fabulous. A fireplace on the long wall makes for a comfy spot to watch TV and entertain. A bedroom and full bath finish off this level. There are sliding screens on the windows in the bedroom that are fabulous!

The lowest level is finished in tile and has the laundry and lots of storage. What a great play space for the kids.

The back yard is probably my favorite space. It has been fully designed and hardscaped in a courtyard design. What a fabulous spot for an outdoor party. There were deer looking back at my as I admired the yard. This is a testament to that contemporaries are supposed to do. Bring the outside and nature in.

This is a great home in a very nice neighborhood. Great schools, great location and great lot. This will sell quickly - and I would think for close to full price!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

4 Beman Woods Court - Avenel - $1,795,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Avenel is a lovely planned community tucked in between Falls Road an Persimmon Tree Road. Upscale, it is the home of the TPC Potomac Golf Course that has just been selected to host the US Senior Golf Open. With a mix of detached, attached and zero lot line homes, this is a beautiful and well maintained place to live.

This Natelli built home is located on the golf course with views of the 17th and 18th fairways. A traditional brick colonial, this home shares a cobble driveway with a neighbor. The home is well maintained with groomed lawn and lovely landscape.

This home is a showplace. The foyer is open and warm with lovely hardwood and a 2 story foyer. Lots of windows let in plenty of light - you feel as though you are in a model home.

The large dining room is to your immediate right, with nice moulding and tasteful decor. You are drawn into the kitchen which is top end with granite and top of the line appliances. The kitchen has a nice breakfast area and is wide open to the family room. A slate patio looks upon the golf course and seems to be a great spot for a glass of wine, or front row seating for any golf event. A lovely dual fireplace peeks through to the living room on the other side. A large piano makes this room formal - once again open to the foyer.

Upstairs has 4 bedrooms, all en-suite. A large master bedroom has a smaller master bathroom attached. A full wall of windows keeps the room bright and a wall of built in cabinets hides the tv and stereo. There is a hall bath at the head of the stairs that seems out of place. Aren't all the bedrooms en-suite?

The basement has an open stair that leads to the main finished area. A large pool table, TV and seating makes for a great game room. A wine cellar will hold at least 500 bottles - even a tasting table to decant your favorite wine. Another large room serves as a library with floor to ceiling bookcases and comfortable seating areas. A full bedroom and bath for guests, or a very lucky Nanny in addition to plenty of storage space.

This home is priced right based upon the latest comps. This home is a perfect turnkey home for Tiger Woods, a CEO or high level executive. Great schools for the kids, chic golf and fabulous pedigreed neighborhood. If you are looking in this price range let me represent you. I want to negotiate for a case of the Opus One in the cellar with a ratified contract!

Monday, November 9, 2009

10317 Holbrook Drive Potomac - Williamsburg Gardens - $800,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Williamsburg Gardens is a wonderful community located about a mile southwest of Potomac Village. Built in the early 1960's, this is one of the few communities in Potomac where you can find contemporary homes.

Situated on about 1/2 acre, this lot is filled with mature azaleas and flowering shrubs. Although a bit overgrown, this lot has great potential for a homeowner with a green thumb that knows how to resurrect the landscape. This yard must be a showplace in the spring - filled with color.

This contemporary is typical of those built in the 1960's. A basic rectangle, this split foyer was updated and expanded in 2003. An open foyer between floors is bright and filled with interesting art. The upstairs has a huge room for living area open to the updated kitchen. Done in light color cabinets the kitchen space looks into the expanded living area in the front of the house. The dining room is adjacent, with a sliding glass door that goes out to a deck overlooking the back yard. The deck is nice, but needs some maintenance. The railing is a bit rickety - and will need to be repaired. Overall though, a nice spot to eat dinner on cool autumn evenings.

On the other side of the home upstairs are three bedrooms and two full baths. The master bedroom is on the small side, and has one of the baths to itself. The current owners have moved their Master suite to the basement.

Downstairs has a large family room with masonry fireplace. There is a door to the carport off this room, with a storage closet behind. The right side of the lower level has a laundry area, storage and currently a master bedroom with full bath. The lot slopes upward from the front of the home to the rear, so you do get light and have windows in this downstairs bedroom. Once the new homeowner does some necessary pruning of the shrubbery in the front of the home, this room will be much brighter.

Overall, for someone that likes contemporary design, this is a nicely updated home. With the added space from the renovation and addition, this home gained extra space where it was most important - in the living area. This neighborhood certainly warrants the $800K price tag. Most homes on this side of Potomac are well above this price.

The last contemporary home that sold in the neighborhood settled for considerably less money. ($700,000) Although that home did not have a basement, it did have a 2 car garage and was located on a quiet court. It appraised for $675K, and the purchasers were willing to pay $25,000 above the appraised value to complete the sale. Another home on the same court is also under contract at less then $700K. Even though these homes are not in the Williamsburg Gardens community, they are the closest sales activity in the area. This is going to cause problems with the appraisal on Holbrook.

In order to get this home sold the price will have to come down below the current $800K. Even should someone come in with a full price offer, there is going to be great difficulty in getting this home to appraise. Because of its location, great schools and recent expansion, this home may appraise at $740K. When all is said and done, when and if this home sells, it will be in that price range.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

11427 Bedfordshire Avenue - Bedfordshire - $899,000

Listed by WFP

Google Map Here

Bedfordshire is a lovely community off Glen Road built in the 1970's. Typical of the era, there is a nice mix of splits and colonials on 1/4 acre lots.

This is a good looking home from the exterior with nice curb appeal. This split level has been well maintained with nice landscape that could use a little grooming.

The foyer is open with hardwood floors. The kitchen is updated with white tile floors. There is a nice size dining room and living room. The family room is filled with lovely paintings with bright colors. The home shows well, almost feels like a gallery with all of the artwork on the walls.

The home has been enlarged in the back. You look out to a back yard with lovely pool and fenced yard. Hardscaping and retaining walls will appeal to those with an aversion to yard work.

The additional space added to this house really shows in the upstairs Master Bedroom. You enter into a sitting room - which is currently being used as an artist studio. Skylights bring in great natural light, even on this dreary day. You step up to the master bedroom and bath which has been nicely upgraded. This space feels very private and insulates you from the outside world. Nicely done!

The other three bedrooms upstairs are decent size and also show well.

The lower level of the split has an additional bedroom and full bath. The stairs take you down to the lowest basement level which may be spacious, but is filled with clutter and boxes. It would be nice to see this space empty to get a better perspective of how the room would work for a perspective buyer.

Overall this is a nice house with a great addition. It was reduced from its initial price of $925k. It may have to be reduced further to sell in this market. The last sale of an updated split went for $768K (net) in August. This comp was on a half acre lot and also had an addition.

This home on Bedfordshire Avenue was purchased for 800K March of 2005 at the height of the market. 8250K may be the right price for this home to get it sold. Although my heart breaks for those folks that bought in 2005-2006 at the height of the market. Reality dictates that to get the home sold, you have to be aggressive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Potomac Secret Agent hits 200 Reviews

WHERE have you been? Have you stopped reviewing? Are you out of the business?

Goodness, you never know how much people care about what you write until you don't!

In the midst of taking care of my wife and kids, my existing clients, my personal business and all of the unplanned events of a week - I write.

Sometimes for reasons beyond my control I get so busy, the blog becomes secondary. With that said - I am back in the saddle and am celebrating my 200th review since starting this website almost a year ago.

The truth is, what is causing my absence is a incredibly strong market. I have put in three offers since my last post and have negotiated 2 offers for my listings. Between home inspections, contingency removals, open houses and showings...there was not time to write. This is very good for Potomac homeowners, as it foreshadows an improving market. It is a warning to those that have been sitting on the sidelines, as homes will be moving more quickly and at higher sales prices.

The inventory in Potomac for homes under $1mm (Yes, that is Million) is less then 2 months. This means that any home priced within reason will go under contract quickly. I wish I could say the same was true for homes over $1mm. There is almost a 2 year supply. Any home that needs to sell is going to have to be priced aggressively and marketed strongly.

You will find over the next few months that my reviews will be weighted towards the under $1mm selections. This is obviously where the action is, and I want my readers to be up to speed when making an offer or preparing to search. As always, if there is a question about the viability or value of ANY property in Potomac - e-mail me and I will take a look and report. This is meant to be a DYNAMIC site where input from readers is highly encouraged and is generally helpful to all.

Most important is that you know I can represent you in all of the tri-state area, not just Potomac. I chose Potomac because I live here and am raising a family here. It is important that I am intimately aware of what is on the market, and if the price is fair. More then half of my sales are outside of the Potomac Zip Code. Don't hesitate to request me to find you a home anywhere in Maryland, DC or Virginia.

OK, I have explained where I have been and where we are going. Isn't it time for you to get off the couch and start shopping?